The Security Council has called on Turkey to reverse course of action regarding Varosha in accordance to UN resolutions, with Ankara denying any violations and saying the statement “does not reflect the reality.”
Council President Dmitry Polyanskiy, from the Russian Federation, issued a statement on Friday following a Security Council meeting during a closed session on Varosha, known around the world as a fenced off ghost town on the divided island.
While the statement was not yet available at the time of this story, UN online sources said the Council “reiterated that no actions should be carried out in relation to Varosha that are not in accordance with those texts” in previous UN resolutions.
The session, which met to respond to a request by the Republic of Cyprus, focused on the recent opening of a beach strip in Varosha, the fenced ghost town on the eastern shores of the divided island that been abandoned since August 1974.
The Council reiterated that no actions should be carried out in relation to Varosha that are not in accordance with previous UN resolutions
According to the reports, all 15 members of the Security Council reaffirmed the UN’s “commitment to an enduring, comprehensive and just settlement, in accordance with the wishes of the Cypriot people, and based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality.”
But Turkey quickly fired back at the presidential statement, saying the opening of the beach strip “does not cause any grievance in the area which is opened for visits.”
“The claim that the decision violates the UN Security Council resolutions does not reflect the reality,” a Turkish foreign ministry press release said.
Ankara went on to say that “the status of the region remains unchanged,” while accusing Greek Cypriots of making propaganda and calling on the international community to take into account realities on the island.
Earlier reports said the government of the Republic of Cyprus had been expecting a statement out of the meeting, with preference given to a decision calling on Ankara to recall its actions on Varosha instead of a simple reaffirmation of existing resolutions.
On Thursday, Turkish Cypriot authorities opened a beach strip along Varosha’s coastline, allowing civilians to go to the beachfront for the first time after 46 years without showing any identification.
The move reportedly allows any members of the public, including Greek Cypriots who live in the south, to go through a newly-installed gate between 9am and 5pm and spend time at the beach.
But many Greek Cypriots in the south demonstrated against the move, seen by many as an election gimmick by a hawkish candidate who is challenging the Turkish Cypriot leader in Sunday’s general election.